Many Canadian Christians know that churches are a key part of support and sponsorship for people seeking refuge in Canada. Together, we see this as living out the gospel and prophetic call to seek justice and offer healing. But when we focus on LGBTQIA+ refugees, the picture changes radically. Did you know the United Church of Canada is one of the very few faith based Sponsorship Agreement Holders within Canada’s LGBTQ refugee program? And that there are more LGBTQIA people seeking refuge than there are sponsors?
Here’s where you come in. You can help change this. Please have a look at the United Church’s excellent new LGBTQIA refugee web resources, dedicated to helping increase the number of ministries who will sponsor LGBTQIA people in need of safety and security. Scroll down for their summary PDFs and download them to share. Then:
- Talk to your ministry. Start a discernment conversation using those PDFs. It doesn’t need to be an Affirming ministry, but having been through the Affirming process is very good groundwork for understanding why LGBTQIA people are forced to seek asylum, and what their needs might be. Nonetheless, any ministry can consider sponsoring.
- Remember that AUSE and the United Church can help you at any stage. So can other groups. We’re blessed with many excellent resource people who can help your ministry understand the need and the process. We want to offer, together, whatever small contributions we can make to people who are in serious danger and have endured serious trauma simply because of who they are.
- Keep learning. If you’re a regular Affirm newsletter or social media reader, you may have seen our links to Rainbow Railroad and other groups who work with the Canadian government’s pilot project for LGBTQ+ refugee sponsorship. Learn about he wider context through research and advocacy offered by groups like 76 Crimes and Amnesty International.
- And here’s your starting point again: the United Church of Canada’s LGBTQIA refugee sponsorship page.
Questions? Contact our communications team.